An introduction to American history through study of a special topic. Regularly offered American Experience courses include: The West, Slavery and Reform Movements. HIST 105 may be repeated for credit with different topics.
|Arts and Humanities||1 course|
Current Semester InformationDavid Gellman
105A: Am Exp:AbolishingSlavery
105B: Am Exp:Law&Constitution
American Experience: Law and the Constitution
The law shapes virtually every aspect of our lives - the foods we eat, the ways we communicate, the families we make. Yet, in spite of the ubiquity of law, it is often invisible. We don't often think consciously of the law, question its assumptions, or analyze its effects. In this course, we will investigate the surprising histories of America's incredibly powerful legal institutions, from the roots of the American legal tradition to debates over the meaning of the Constitution to the increasing power of the Supreme Court. How has law shaped the economic and political life of the United States? Why do Americans so frequently aspire to make their social and political conflicts into constitutional struggles? Who gets to decide what the Constitution means? Do Americans' conceptions of rights promote justice or inhibit it? As we explore the evolution of law in American life, we will use historical study to understand a number of legal controversies before us today, including gay marriage and the role of law during wartime.